The Healthcare Influencer Series Part 1: Zayna Khayat

  • 17 April 2018
  • Expert Insights

This post is part of our new Healthcare Influencer series in which we interview the world's leading experts to get their take on the state of the industry, the top trends to watch for, and what the future holds.

The following is an interview we recently had with Zayna Khayat, Future Strategist with Saint Elizabeth Health Care and Adjunct Faculty at the University of Toronto Rotman School of Management.

1. How has the Healthcare industry evolved in the past 5 years?

ZK: Although the industry has many components that each are on their own journey of reinvention, and it also varies considerably by country, state and jurisdiction, at a macro level …

Big shifts that I have seen relative to 5 years ago:

Shift #1: Consumers are awoken and are increasingly calling the shots, and have expectations of their health providers around convenience, access, shared decision making and much more.

Shift #2: Data is starting to flow to and through the patient, with a lot less friction.

Shift #3: Health systems are ready to try new ways of working other than dumping more money into business models that no longer make a lot of sense.

Shift #4: Shifts 1, 2 and 3 are being enabled/accelerated by new entrants who are able to bring entirely new value propositions to bear, unlike the traditional incumbents who are struggling to creatively destroy their legacy business models in order to stay relevant in the 21st century. These new entrants include larger established companies from other industries that are now becoming health companies (Apple, Amazon, Google, post services, grocers, telecoms, Walmart, Virgin and many more) and young, high-growth startups that are nimble, smart and hungry to impact patients and society at scale.

2. What are the top Healthcare technology trends you're seeing?

ZK: Technologies are coming together in new ways, and blending with physical delivery of services to create a set of experiences that are:

  •         Personalized, proactive, predictive
  •         Individualized, tailored, configurable
  •         Continuous, integrated, holistic, team-based
  •         Decentralized, dephysicalized, dematerialized, demonetized, disintermediated
  •         People-powered, patient and family-centered/driven
  •         Value-based, outcomes-based, results-based

These technologies are largely software-driven; social networks, VR, AR, AI, apps, Blockchain.

Other high-science tech that is also bringing new possibilities include stem cells/regenerative medicine, designer drugs (monoclonal antibodies), 3D printing (devices, human tissue) and autonomous transportation (drones, autonomous vehicles).

3. How will AI change the Healthcare industry?

ZK: AI will enable us to release constraints that have dominated the industry for several decades, including:

1) Constraints around speed at which we can intelligently process/mine lots of information.


2) Constraints around the sophistication with which we can make decisions.

Key areas where I can see big impacts happen relatively soon:

1) Clinical trials

  • finding patients to accrue into trials using AI-driven tools such as crawling EMRs, mining social media patterns, etc.

2) Digital companions

  • using AI-enabled chatbots in simple, text-based, asynchronous communications to triage routine, standardized pathways of questioning that currently consume high-value labor like the time of doctors or triage nurses.

3) Radiology, imaging and other diagnostics

  • augmenting the radiologist or ophthalmologist in diagnosing diseases based on looking at an image or scan.

4) Drug discovery

  • bringing AI tools to mine massive libraries of potential compounds/targets instead of the current analog, linear, “throw spaghetti against a wall and see what sticks” approach.

4. How will blockchain change the Healthcare industry?

ZK: Some of the easier first-use cases for Blockchain that I get excited about are around:

1) Improving data liquidity, i.e. taking the friction out of letting clinical and extra-clinical data flow to and through the patient and their full circle of formal and informal carers.


2) Creating new healthcoin-like currencies to incentivize consumers to donate their anonymized data for research, AI development and other purposes.

5. What's the future of Healthcare?

ZK: Predictive. Personalized. Continuous. Decentralized. Democratized. People-powered. Value-based.

About Zayna Khayat

Zayna is the Future Strategist with Saint Elizabeth a health and social impact enterprise with a major focus on home care. In 2017 she spent the year on secondment to the REshape Health Innovation Centre at Radboud university medical centre in Nijmegan, Netherlands where she led several initiatives to advance health innovation in the country.  From 2014 to 2017 Dr. Khayat lead health system innovation with MaRS Discovery District, a major innovation hub based in Toronto. Zayna is adjunct faculty with the Rotman School of Management in the Health Sector Strategy stream.

Zayna was a Principal with the Toronto office of The Boston Consulting Group (BCG), a global management consulting firm, from 2001 to 2010. She earned her Ph.D. in biochemistry from the University of Toronto in 2001.

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